- By RICH ANDREW
- Photo Courtesy of NEON
With his second feature film, writer and director Francis Lee (God’s Own Country) has crafted a bold love story set in the 1840s in England. The incomparable Kate Winslet (Blackbird) dons the stoic shoulders of renowned paleontologist Mary Anning, both a fossil hunter and an artist with her painstaking restorations of ammonites. Mary’s hardened exterior stems from years of having her work eclipsed by her male peers, and now she struggles amid an equally harsh coastline in search of something beautiful and worthwhile. Beyond her precious fossils, Mary finds that beauty in Charlotte Murchison, a fragile woman suffering from melancholia, played by the always compelling Saoirse Ronan (Little Women). Charlotte is entrusted into Mary’s custody by a husband who chooses to gallivant around Europe instead of caring for his sick wife. Rather than rely on dialogue, the film crafts a forbidden passion between these two women through the skilled performances of Winslet and Ronan alone. Their stolen glances, their silent yearning, their repressed sensuality for this time period are all viscerally felt and culminate into something chilling and yet hyper-erotic. For Winslet and Ronan, it is a masterclass in nuance. With a star-studded cast that also features Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), Gemma Jones (Cold Feet), James McArdle (Mary Queen of Scots), Alec Secareanu (Strike Back), and Claire Rushbrook (Temple), Ammonite is a gem.
“Ammonite” streams on demand on December 4th.